We had the good fortune of connecting with Fiona Buchanan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Fiona, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Since March 2020 I’ve been working very little at day jobs and focusing on the studio. In that span of time I’ve experienced what have felt like different chapters of “the balance”. The first chapter was a lot of new free time coupled with a heightened anxiety around making. It seemed everyone around me was in a pandemic frenzy of productivity, whether that was true or not. Most of the stuff I made in those first months had a frantic energy and has since ended up in the trash. The second chapter was actual productivity, a lot of hours in the studio both to take advantage of the extra time on my hands and also to drive away the scaries. Still a time of unnecessary self induced stress. The third chapter has been what I think is attempting actual balance – some hours in the studio and as much “living” as possible. Rather than maximizing time or productivity I’m aiming to uplift whatever feels best for the work, as that is after all what will produce the best work.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
The best thing to me about being an artist besides getting to make the art itself is community. Everything that I’ve done so far has been possible because of the shared tastes, interests and values I’ve found in the people that I’ve met. Making things feels good because I know its amongst others, even when it doesn’t feel that way. I love the combination of the people in my life – a mix of friend through art shows and residencies and just being in the city. My current work doesn’t expressly show this, its all landscape based but I’m often thinking of people while I make my work. I explore my relationship to my environment through painting as a means to preserve it and connect it to that of the collective. The imagery I use in my paintings is often overlooked objects and moments that I give reverence to and their often a bit anthropomorphized. I like to mess with the idea of narrative by putting unlikely things together or flattening things out, like these “flat castles” for example.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
A year into moving to the city my brother and dad visited. My dad loves whatever is cheap or free so I took them on the East River ferry, the Staten Island ferry and to a tip-based comedy show in Brooklyn. I love stand-up and its such a steal here, so many young cool comics here to work on their stuff. So I would probably repeat those things and take them to a part of prospect park that I’ve never been to before with some great takeout. Also I bought a trees of NYC Identification book recently so hopefully by the time I have visitors again I can flex some that knowledge.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Including but not limited to, I’d like to shout out: John Ros, Stephanie Pence, Marta Lee, Clare Barron, Madeleine Bialke and Harry Kleeman. Beyond grateful for my friends and fellow artists.